As Nelson Rodriguez continues his travels across North America and beyond interviewing candidates for the Fire’s head coaching position, his ideal time frame for the hire is quickly approaching. With Thanksgiving only three weeks away, having a coach in place by the end of the month could be crucial to completing player personnel decisions for next season. The league deadline for options and contract renewals is December 1. While some players continue to train under the guidance of Brian Bliss and Logan Pause, those that are either out of contract, non guaranteed, or up for renewal have been advised by the MLSPU to decline participation in post season sessions.
Speculation will continue on whether or not the Fire will pursue Jason Kreis but it doesn’t seem likely that his next destination will be Chicago. Kreis was let go by New York City FC in the middle of a four year deal so he can take his time and wait for the Toronto FC, or any other position if he chooses to do so. His assistants may not be so fortunate as they typically do not work on contracts in MLS. As a result CJ Brown could be a name under consideration for the Fire’s top spot.
Another name making the rounds as a possible candidate is former Columbus Crew player and current Lanus manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto. He’s expressed interest in returning to the US and coaching in MLS after reportedly being considered for the Columbus job that went to Gregg Berhalter following the 2013 season. Schelotto’s contract with Lanus expires at the end of December and there are at least three clubs in Argentina reportedly pursuing him. Boca Juniors, Racing, and San Lorenzo have all been rumored to be suitors but he’s publicly stated that he’s committed to Lanus until at least December 31. Brian Bliss was the Technical Director in Columbus during his heydays with the Crew.
One more name to to add to the list of possibilities is Wilmer Cabrera. He’s been a candidate for MLS jobs in the past and was the last head coach at Chivas USA while Rodriguez oversaw the operation for the league. Cabrera has worked as an assistant at Colorado and also has experience with the US youth program, coaching the U-18 and U-17 sides from 2007 to 2012. Rodriguez said this of Cabrera last week – ” I tried to be very supportive of the head coach, understanding that he was under incredible, difficult circumstances with a one year contract.”
Until a selection has been made, an offer accepted, and an announcement scheduled all we have are names and speculation. It doesn’t sound like an immediate decision is near quite yet however.